The question of why you should have an estate plan is one that gets overlooked often. Many people don’t think about why they should have one. Many believe that an estate plan isn’t for people like them. For some, they know that an estate plan is something they should consider, but they just put it off for one reason or another. They don’t have enough time in the day for their regular tasks, let alone something they may not need for years. Learn more about estate plans, and why they are a necessity for everyone.
What Is an Estate Plan?
An estate plan is a document that contains all of the instructions you have in the case you become incapacitated or pass away. This plan is meant to protect your future and your loved ones. You may have separate documents, such as your life insurance policy, but your estate plan brings it all together in one place. This document can make it easier on you and your beneficiaries when the time comes to put the estate plan into use.
Who Should Have an Estate Plan
Some people have this misconception that the only people that should have an estate plan are those that are rich. It’s not true. Everyone has an estate. Your home, your business, your checking account, your retirement fund, and all of your assets all make up your estate.
Others have a misconception that an estate plan is meant only for people that are towards the very end of their life. That’s also false. Anyone that has assets, a family to care for, or a business should look into having an estate plan. An estate plan isn’t just about what happens to your assets after your death. An estate plan can also be put into place in case you become disabled. It can be helpful to have an estate plan to ensure that you are treated as you would like.
Why You Should Have an Estate Plan
There are several splendid reasons why you should have an estate plan.
- Avoiding a Messy Situation: Not making an estate plan means that your wishes may not be respected if you pass away or become incapacitated mentally. Your family may tear itself apart with fighting and go through costly court battles to settle your estate.
- Protect Your Beneficiaries: No one plans on when they may be taken from their family, and an estate plan helps to protect them. This plan can be beneficial for both adult beneficiaries or minor children beneficiaries.
- Estate Taxes: An estate plan can help to reduce or eliminate the amount of taxes paid on your estate. This plan can protect your spouse after your death or your beneficiaries.
- Probate: Probate can be an expensive process that takes a great deal of time. Most people that have gone through probate can tell you plenty of horror stories about it.
- Protect Your Assets: You should have an estate plan because it can protect your assets from unforeseen debts. It’s too late to try to protect them if you’re aware of any lawsuit that may be in the offing. Making a plan early can help in this instance.
What Should Be in Your Estate Plan?
There are several things that you should include when creating an estate plan.
- Instructions on how your estate should be divided among your beneficiaries.
- Naming a guardian, in case of any minor children.
- Put protections in place for any minor children, children with special needs, or family members that may be irresponsible with their inheritance.
- Include information on your life, disability, or long-term care insurance policies.
- Also, include the information on all of your financial accounts, business and personal.
- Transfer information about your business.
- Your wishes for care in case you become disabled.
- Your funeral plans.
The information contained in your estate plan is a guide for those that come after. It’s not a one-and-done document. It can be reviewed and updated as things change over time with your family or the laws that govern estate plans.
Getting Professional Help
Your estate plan can be complicated once it’s completed, but the creation doesn’t have to be a struggle. Getting a legal professional who understands estate planning can help to make this process less strenuous. They can offer you advice on how to prepare for your future and the future of your loved ones that you want to protect when you pass. It can be easy to miss a document or misconstrue the laws regarding estate planning.
The Law Offices of Howe & Garside, LTD. can assist you with your estate planning needs. Contact us today to discuss your particular estate planning situation. We’re here to help you to get your future affairs in order. You can get peace of mind that you’ve protected yourself and your family while taking advantage of the benefits offered by estate planning.
An estate plan is an important document, but many don’t realize the benefits that creating one offer.